Andy White
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Andy White

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The expatriate Irish singer-songwriter's new CD plunges deep into the age of anxiety: he's crowded into the "capital of now" with people who want to tear it down. The delightful "Samuel Beckett" duly imagines chance encounters on public transport with Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Seamus Heaney - the latter working an Amsterdam train "like Gay Byrne on acid", an almost impossible density of pop-cultural reference. Highlight is "Letter from T", in which a friend e-mails him about the state of Ireland and wartime dread; both her thoughts and his reply meticulously set to atmospheric, Middle Eastern music. Throughout his career, Andy White has made intelligent, compelling music. Here he sounds unequivocally as if he is also having a good time.


- Financial Times


This international treasure is a storyteller in the classical mould who weaves his words with gorgeous melodies and wry humour. Blisteringly romantic without being sentimental. - The Stage


From rage to sage...it ain’t too late to discover one of our best kept secrets. - Mojo magazine


I love this man and his music. Rave on! - Janice Long, BBC Radio 2


The Irish yarn-spinner sketched these 14 songs in 10 days using Mac's GarageBand software in his Dandenongs garage, but the end result is more Phil Spector than Devendra Banhart. Numerous global stops and guest players lend layers of intrigue, making exhilarating pop edifices from simple scaffolds. The Capital of Now and Samuel Beckett are very noughties updates on White's trademark rambling travelogues strewn with literary allusions; the minimalist manifesto of Live To Fail and the exotic Letter From T comprise a mesmerising island of calm in a whirling universe of word pictures. - The Age, Melbourne


Hard to believe it’s almost ten years since the Belfast troubadour departed these shores for pastures new. As befits a man who rarely lets the grass grow under his feet for very long this full band affair was recorded in locations as diverse as Alaska, Italy, the UK and his new hometown of Melbourne. But despite the geographical confusion that might cause it’s a cohesive-sounding record, albeit one with some ambitious arrangements. Message To You has a Talking Heads-like rhythmic drone, the dreamy trance-like Waiting For You is similarly styled with a syncopated beat punctuated by staccato strings. Even more experimental, Letter From T features a spooky female voice over an Indian raga. Never one to miss out on a literary reference, Samuel Beckett which also namechecks Seamus Heaney and Oscar Wilde echoes his earlier song James Joyce’s Grave. However, melodic, mid-tempo songs such as You Walked Back Into My Heart are arguably what White does best and that along with the jangly A Long Time Coming and Gallery Girls – another tuneful ditty with wry observational lyrics – will appeal to long-time fans. - Hot Press


Although the title refers to White’s use of Apple’s Garageband software, there are plenty of big rock moments here. White’s Australian residency hasn’t changed him over the years, with Hothouse Flowers and Waterboys still looming large in his oeuvre, but having the album mixed by John Leckie (producer of Radiohead’s The Bends) adds anthemic choruses to his raggle-taggle moves. - Q magazine


Andy White - Songwriter

Floating World Records ****

How to hang on to the wide-eyed wonder of youth without getting stuck in the groove? Andy White seems to have perfected this art with just the occasional lapse into tried and trusted musical ideas. Songwriter oozes messy storylines and insistent guitar chords that drill a hole into your subconscious. Its influences range, from rockabilly ( When You Gonna Come ) to wide- open vista balladry ( Why Don’t You Stay ) and down-home guitar-driven three-chord trickery ( The Valley of My Heart ). It’s classic White terrain, a place where singalong-ability is to be celebrated rather than sneered at; and where guest vocals from Canadian Po’ Girl Allison Russell chafe beautifully against Andy’s Belfast-by-way-of-Melbourne curlicued diphthongs. A recession- beating slice of (wary) optimism. www.andywhite.com SIOBHÁN LONG 

Download tracks: If You Want It, Turn Up the Temperature On the Machine of Love - Irish Times


ANDY WHITE - 'SONGWRITER'
FLOATING WORLD Catalogue No: FW034

9/10

It's one of those unwritten laws of Rock'n'Roll, but you're supposed to record your seismic early work, burn brightly and fade away, preferably leaving a good-looking corpse. Clearly no-one told ANDY WHITE, for 25 years after he began to stake his patch in the music world, the self-styled bard of Belfast not only shows no sign of slowing down, but he even has the affrontery to sound better than ever.

Now based in Melbourne, Australia, White was back in contention with last year's really rather fine 'Garageband' LP. Despite the title (which was actually culled from a computer programme used in recording the album), it wasn't exactly a Stooges-style return to Andy's roots, but it was an appealingly dense-sounding Pop-Rock record with a few electronic tinges which suited the well-established White muse more than you might imagine.

Coming barely twelve months later, 'Songwriter' blinks in the daylight with allegations of a more 'Roots'-orientated' sound. Like 'Garageband', it was recorded primarily in Canada (Vancouver) with members of Po' Girl, The Be Good Tanyas and Neko Case's band on board and it' an excellent listen from stem to stern.

As usual, White has chosen his collaborators well. Songs are co-written in tandem with Allison Russell (Po' Girl), Stephen Fearing (Blackie & The Rodeo Kings) and Scottish songwriter Stuart Crichton and - as the close-miked and plaintive opener 'The Valley of My Heart' suggests – the sound is indeed more organic and live this time around. It's the first of four absolute stunners coveted by the album and with a series of memorable lyrical images flashing before your ears (“It's Valentine's Day, I'm listening to 'Sticky Fingers'/ there's a cake with candles by the door�) and the band embellishing with kid gloves, it's a glorious ache of a track to kick off with.

For this writer, the three other outstanding tracks here are 'Candlestick Park', 'Start All Over Again' and 'When I Come Back'. 'Candlestick Park', of course, was the venue of The Beatles final official gig (in San Francisco) and the song itself is a poised and memorable ode to nostalgia. 'Start All Over Again' picks up the pace after an emotional (and epic) duet between White and Allison Russell called 'First & Discovery' and trails a Dylan-ish harmonica blast before cheekily hi-jacking the “I think we look pretty good together� hookline from The Who's 'Substitute' for its' own memorable ends. Perhaps even better is 'When I Come Back'. I'm not entirely sure if it's time travel or re-incarnation the song deals with, but its' heartfelt pleas for a better world (“when I come back, I want to see the human race look after all the planet/ not just parts which suit its' greedy-minded lucre-filled ambition�) make total sense to these ears. Certainly, gentle acoustic confessionals rarely pack such a killer punch.

Although these are the songs that especially resonate with this writer, the album as a whole's an impressive beast. Songs like 'I Believe' and the swaying 'Turn up the Temperature on the Machine of Love' display a Lennon-esque pop sensibility. The lilting, but pointed Northern Ireland commentary 'Kathleen' and the Gospel-tinged 'When You Gonna Come?' bear out the album's 'Roots'-related bent and the lovelorn 'Faithful Heart' sounds so much better in Andy White's safe hands than it would if MOR'D to hell by some over-rated nerk like Paul Brady.

He keeps a little light-hearted fun in reserve for the end, courtesy of 'Twelve String Man' (“I work twice as hard as a man who's only got six strings!�) which is witty, pithy and celebratory enough to bring on the handclaps, hammond organ and quite possibly the champagne behind the scenes. It's a neat way to part with the album and with it's references to gowing up “in a bombed out town� and “only wanting to play bass� it brings White back to his autobiographical roots.

It would be easy to start waxing lyrical about “returns to form� with both of Andy White's last pair of albums, but he's never really gone horribly off the boil along the way. Indeed, in a game based on highs and lows, he is a marker for consistency. That said, he's always moving, always looking for the next great hook and always writing something resonant. He's a great performer and 'Songwriter' should once again come highly recommended.

TIM PEACOCK - Whisperin' and Hollerin'


Andy White: Songwriter

by The Music Critic ~ Thursday, 23 July 2009 Labels: Folk, Irish, Rock

There are few artists that can command such loyalty from their fans, but then the affable Irishman is not your run of the mill songwriter. This is White's first album in 4 years, the follow up to the patchy Garageband, and we're glad to report a return to form. Recorded in Australia, England, Canada and America, it is produced by Andy himself with the help of the legendary John Leckie.

If You Want It and First and Discovery are perhaps the two tracks that grab you first, mainly due to the additional vocal interaction from Allison Russell, but it is on the more uptempo tracks where White excels. Take Me Home drives along paying homage to his native Ireland, sounding like the Saw Doctors playing Bluegrass while the Honky Tonk of Twelve String Man is foot tappingly infectious.

The Valley Of My Heart and I Believe are classic Andy White, harking back to albums like Kiss The Big Stone and Out There.

This is a welcome addition to his already considerable catalogue of albums and while maybe not his best is perhaps his most accessible to date. A good introduction to a national treasure.

www.andywhite.com

[][][][} (4/5) - The Music Critic


Discography

DISCOGRAPHY

Rave on Andy White (Decca/MCA, 1986)
Kiss The Big Stone (Decca, 1988)
Himself (Cooking Vinyl, 1990)
Out There (Warners, 1992)
Destination Beautiful (Warners, 1994)
Altitude - as ALT - (Parlophone, 1995)
Teenage (Cooking Vinyl, 1996)
Compilation (Cooking Vinyl, 1998)
Speechless (WOMAD/Real World 2000)
Andy White (Floating World/ALT Recordings, 2001)
Boy 40 (Floating World/ALT Recordings, 2003)
Garageband (Floating World 2006/Wildflower, 2009)
Songwriter (Floating World, 2009/Wildflower 2010)

BIBLIOGRAPHY
The Music Of What Happens (Lagan Press 1999)
21st Century Troubadour (Lagan Press 2009)

Photos

Bio

Belfast-born and now Melbourne-based singer songwriter Andy White is currently touring to promote his new album 'Songwriter', released on Floating World Records in Europe and scheduled for North American release by Wildflower Records in June 2010.

'Songwriter' was recorded live in the studio in Vancouver, Canada, with members of Po' Girl, the Be Good Tanyas, and Neko Case's band. It’s either a new, rootsier musical direction for Andy, or a return to the sound of his early albums, and reflects writing collaborations he has been working on for the past few years. The band also features Andy's long-standing tour companion, virtuoso pianist and accordion player Radoslav Lorkovic.

There are songs co-written with Allison Russell from Po' Girl, old friend Stephen Fearing from Canadian group Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Australian writer Sean Sennett, and one-man Scots hit factory Stuart Crichton.

Reaction to the album has been immediate and positive, with the Irish Times calling it "A recession- beating slice of (wary) optimism."

The album was previewed by Andy’s appearance at WOMAD UK. He then hosted the songwriting strand of the WOMAD Summer School at Bath Spa University, July 27-31. Andy's European album release tour was Oct 8-Dec 5, with North American dates starting with an official showcase at Folk Alliance, Feb 19, 2010.

Andy's colourful career includes ten solo albums, many co-writes and collaborations, and touring with the great and good of the international music scene. Van Morrison, Sinead O'Connor, the Finn Brothers, amongst others.

Best known in his native land for songs such as ‘Street Scenes From My Heart’ and ‘Religious Persuasion’, Andy combines a pop sensibility with social commentary, once earning him the nickname ‘Belfast’s Bob Dylan’.

Andy relocated to Australia after stint alongside Tim Finn as one third of folk super trio ALT, and co-writing Olympic 400 metre gold medallist Cathy Freeman's Sydney Olympics theme song 'Coz I'm Free' with Christine Anu.

He has co-written with the likes of Peter Gabriel (Peter's latest single 'Whole Thing' from the 'Big Blue Ball' album is a co-write with Andy), Kieran Kane, Neil and Tim Finn and Angela McCluskey.

Andy has played festivals and concerts all over the world with his acoustic guitar, graced the UK's 'Folk Roots' cover and is a member of the Irish HQ Music Hall of Fame, having won the prestigious Hot Press Irish Songwriter of the Year award.

For more info, please see www.andywhite.com, email rose@andywhitecom, or listen at www.myspace.com/andywhitemyspace

For North America contact Katherine de Paul at Wildflower Records, tel (212) 749 7221.

For booking Andy in the UK, contact Grapevine, tel +44 (0)1404 813004